Introduction to Establishing Medical Reality: Essays in the Metaphysics and Epistemology of Biomedical Science

In Harold Kincaid & Jennifer McKitrick (eds.), Establishing Medical Reality. Springer. pp. 1-11 (2007)

Authors
Jennifer McKitrick
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Abstract
Medicine has been a very fruitful source of significant issues for philosophy over the last 30 years. The vast majority of the issues discussed have been normative—they have been problems in morality and political philosophy that now make up the field called bioethics. However, biomedical science presents many other philosophical questions that have gotten relatively little attention, particularly topics in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of science. This volume focuses on problems in these areas as they surface in biomedical science. Important changes in philosophy make biomedical science an especially interesting area of inquiry. Contemporary philosophy is largely naturalistic in approach—it takes philosophy to be constrained by the results of the natural sciences and able to contribute to the natural sciences as well. Exactly what those constraints and contributions should be is a matter of controversy. What is not controversial is that important questions in philosophy of science and metaphysics are raised by the practice of science. Physics, biology, and economics have all drawn extensive philosophical analysis, so much so that philosophical study of these areas have become specialized subdisciplines within philosophy of science. Philosophy of medicine approached from the perspective of philosophy of science—with important exceptions (Schaffner, 1993; Thagard, 2000)—has been relatively undeveloped. Nonetheless, medicine should have a central place in epistemological and metaphysical debates over science. It is unarguably the most practically important of the sciences. It also draws by the far the greatest resources and research efforts of any area in biology. Yet philosophy of biology has focused almost exclusively on evolutionary biology, leaving the vast enterprises of immunology, cancer biology, virology, clinical medicine, and so on unexplored. Naturalized philosophy has emphasized the important interplay of historical and sociological aspects of science with its philosophical interpretation. Biomedical science as a large scale social enterprise is a natural target for such approaches. Relatedly, within philosophy there has been a growing interest and appreciation for the connections between issues of value and issues of fact in science (Kincaid et al., 2007). Biomedical science is a paradigm instance where the two intersect. The upshot is that biomedical science is a potential rich area for philosophical investigation in areas outside biomedical ethics. This volume seeks to show that promise and to encourage its exploration
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,545
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

How Scientists Explain Disease.Paul Thagard - 1999 - Princeton University Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Evidence in Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine.John Worrall - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):981–1022.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Classificatory Theory in Data-Intensive Science: The Case of Open Biomedical Ontologies.Sabina Leonelli - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):47 - 65.
Introduction: Ludwik Fleck's Epistemology of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.Ilana Löwy - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 35 (3):437-445.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-10-24

Total views
13 ( #545,797 of 2,325,459 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #523,443 of 2,325,459 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature